The UN in Haiti calls for an end to the looting of humanitarian aid

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The UN in Haiti calls for an end to the looting of humanitarian aid

A number of warehouses used by UN agencies have been attacked by protesters in towns such as Gonaives and Les Cayes.

Ulrika Richardson, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, the organization’s top humanitarian official in Haiti, called for an end to these attacks and the looting of supplies.

“What we are seeing is the result of people’s frustration and desperation in the face of very difficult living conditions. Looting warehouses is not the solution; this only makes it more difficult to effectively respond and assist families in need. The current situation calls for additional efforts from the humanitarian community. For this to happen, we need safe access for aid workers and supplies,” she said in a press release.



© WFP Haiti/Luc Segur

A WFP warehouse in Gonaïves, Haiti, before it was looted (file photo).

Violence must stop to allow food distributions

The World Food Program (WFP) lost more than 2,000 tonnes of food in Gonaives and Les Cayes, which had been prepositioned as part of its emergency response to protect the most vulnerable ahead of the hurricane season.

“We need the violence to stop so that food distributions can resume as soon as possible,” said Jean-Martin Bauer, WFP Country Director in Haiti.

Other UN agencies have also reported thefts, looting and disruptions to their work across Haiti, due to civil unrest.

In Gonaïves, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) lost 2,000 non-food item kits, enough to support 10,000 people, in an attack on their warehouse. Facilities belonging to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for Project Services were also attacked and looted.

The safety and well-being of all Haitians, especially the most vulnerable children, women and men, remains our priority at this time – Ulrika Richardson

In the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, the UN-coordinated IDP task force – bringing together many local partners to help reach the most vulnerable – said it was no longer able to provide support to the most of the 22,000 people displaced across the city due to recent unrest.

And at the national level, the United Nations Pan American Health Organization is currently unable to ensure the availability of essential medicines, vaccines and medical inputs where they are most needed.

“The safety and well-being of all Haitians, especially the most vulnerable children, women and men, remains our priority at this time. A well-equipped humanitarian assistance operation and safe access for humanitarian workers are therefore of the utmost importance,” said Ulrika Richardson, adding that “the United Nations, together with its humanitarian partners, will continue to uphold the principles of humanity , neutrality, impartiality and independence in the delivery of humanitarian aid”.

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